About CRS


Community Support is Vital to Refugee Success:

Legally resettled refugees contribute to the enrichment of San Antonio, becoming dependable employees and reliable neighbors who contribute positively to the diversity of our community.

Refugees are Legal:

Legally resettled refugee families are extremely vulnerable and underserved. They fled their homes due to religious and ethnic persecution.  CRS focuses on refugees’ ongoing unmet needs, recognizing that self-sufficiency and successful community integration is a process rather than a time-limited event.

Located in the Heart of the Refugee Community:

  • The Center for Refugee Services serves more than 1,000 refugees annually with 5 core staff members, of which only 2 are salaried, and 30 auxiliary monthly volunteers.
  • The Center for Refugee Services relies on donations to pay operating and program expenses.

How We Help:

Upon arrival in the U.S., refugees receive 6 months of assistance from refugee resettlement agencies.  The Center for Refugee Services was created to offer ongoing support after the end of this initial resettlement period. 

This support includes: ESL classes, job readiness, health & wellness support, and referrals to community support services.

Legal Refugee Process

Coming to America Legally


Conflict Erupts

“Conflict” may involve:

  • wars
  • terrorist attacks
  • pervasive gang violence
  • political oppression
  • persecution based on:
    • race
    • religion
    • nationality
    • political opinion
    • membership in particular social groups


Migration Occurs

Individuals or families flee homes to survive and in search of safety:

  • “Internal migrants” move to a safer area within their own country
  • “Asylum seekers” flee to a different (often neighboring) country


Status Applications Are Made

In a new country, the person or family may ask to be recognized as an “asylum seeker” by the host government, or apply to the United Nations for refugee status.

Countries which provide the majority of resettlement include the United States, Canada, Australia and the Nordic countries.


Refugee Status Is Granted

A person becomes a “refugee” when they are granted asylum or status within the U.N. Under the U.N., refugees may be permanently re-settled in a third country, which they do not get to choose.

For refugees approved to come to the U.S., rigorous screening is done by multiple U.S. agencies including: Department of State, USCIS (screens via FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security, Dept. of Defense), and Resettlement Support Center.

In addition, medical screening and approval is conducted, transportation loans to the U.S. are provided and must be repaid, U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducts additional background checks at ports of entry.

2020 Accomplishments

In summer 2020, because of COVID-19, CRS reduced its hours of operation for 3 months and re configured service operations to ensure the safety of clients and staff members/volunteers. October 2020, services resumed usual days/hours, M-F, 10am – 3pm, except for on-site classes.

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